Our OWN Mexican saga began January 12th with Cheryl and I  tossin’ a few things in the travel bag.  We headed to MZT (Mazatlàn) the 13th.  Bein’ really gutsy  we would try to use our retiree passes on American (Mesa Arlines).   Dave & Laurie Baggs would pick us up for some beach-front frolickin.’  Always fun with those two.   Dave n’ I have been friends since 1964 when we both worked for Teton National Insurance Co.  Hard to find friends with the kind of tolerance that’ll last 54 years!  O’course my buddy, Joe Davis, has lasted goin’ on 77 years now.  Amazing!

Cheryl and made it on board the American Bombardier CRJ-900 (CR9) we lucked out

and, not only made the flight, we were upgraded into First Class!  It was a nice flight with Dave & Laurie there to greet our arrival.  The 13th and 14th were normal turista days for us.  We enjoyed being with the Baggs in their luxurious  beachfront condo.  Lots to see and do with some nice eateries around Mazatlán.


L-R: Billy Walker – Dave & Laurie Baggs – Cheryl Walker

All smiles as shown above, but the next day, not so good…

January 15th, 2018

WOW! WHAT A DAY!  …we started the day with this:  Cheryl and I still in MZT with our flight back to PHX set for the next day, the 16th.  We’ve had a delightful time visiting our friends, Dave & Laurie Baggs.  I’m writing this from their hi-rise balcony overlooking the the peaceful waves as they greet the Mazatlán shoreline.  As the sun rises it casts a pink glow on the high wispy cirriform clouds forming a soft canopy over this tranquil setting.  Cheryl is still in a sweet slumber not yet ready to greet this magnificent day.  The only thing missing is a Stearman to cruise by with that rich Continental 220 melody to serenade her in to wakefulness…

The day started just fine.  However, after we left the Baggs Condo at 0930 AM January 15th it was another story:

That day was a bit more than just interesting!  Our friends and hosts, the Baggs, planned to take us to see the Bularte Bridge east of Mazatlán. We traveled east on the toll highway towards Durango, Mexico.  We never made it!
Approximately fifty kilometers east of Mazatlán our lives instantly went into shock when we were suddenly confronted by three cars full of machine gun wielding bandidos.
A white Chrysler 200 sedan pulled in front of us and hit the brakes. Dave tried going around the white car and struck a red sedan inches from our left side.  Behind us, a black VW sedan prevented any rearward escape. There was a sharp drop-off on our right.  I looked over and saw a car full of automatic weapons pointing at us.  DAMN!  …and it was a nice day up to then.
It was around 10 AM when the four of us were forced at gun-point outside Dave’s F-150.  There were four bandidos in each sedan.  There were twelve automatic weapons pointed at us.  The thugs were all yelling.  We could not understand what their words meant.  However, we four clearly understood what they were saying.  There was no doubt as to the seriousness of our situation… You could not have pulled a needle out of my butt with a D-8 CAT dozer!
We were robbed of personal items then forced into the back seat.   All four of us.  One rather fierce looking bandido tried to remove Cheryl’s wedding rings which were give to her by my Mother.  Unable, he quickly moved to Laurie.  Cheryl was able to slip the rings off and secret them in her pocket.  Surprisingly, no one noticed and she still has these precious and irreplaceable heirlooms.
With Dave and I now crowded into the back seat with Cheryl and Laurie, one of the hooded bastards took over the drivers seat.  Quickly, he was driving like a maniac while another rather fearsome bandit kept his short-stocked AK-47 pointed at us.  Not knowing Spanish made little difference.  We were all well aware of our sudden plight.
Less than a kilometer from our initial confrontation, this NASCAR reject had us off on a winding dirt road in one of the scariest rides I’ve ever experienced to date! Switch-back after switch-back we careened down this dirt road thru the Mexican jungle.  Suddenly, WHAM!  “Parnelli” slammed on the brakes and ordered us out with the muzzle of his colleague’s AK-47 insuring compliance.  
We had barely exited Dave’s pickup when that same white sedan careened over the rise in the road behind our position.  The driver failed to see the road was stuffed with Dave’s former  F-150, spankin’ new,  spiffy silver pickem’up truck.  Skidding by us, up on two wheels, the Chrysler 200 crashed into the jungle adjoining this dirt road to Hell.
The white car slammed down on all four wheels with the four bandido occupants exiting loudly expressing unknown expletives.  Amazingly, the airbags never deployed yet the car was no longer drivable!
Mexican profanity erupted! Next we were herded up a draw into the jungle morass.  Some two hundred yards later we would discover Ricardo Castañeda Santo and his family who had experienced the same problem 20 minutes prior to us.  We would learn that Ricardo’s new Dodge Ram pickup was no longer his!
Ricardo was sitting with his family under gun-point in the Sinola jungle these fifty kilometers east of Mazatlán.   We would soon appreciate this wonderful Mexican family to the extent they will always be our friends and close to our hearts.  Apparently, the bandidos were after pickups! Ricardo had a nice Dodge Ram that he will, most certainly, never see again… Ricardo would later tell us he’d discerned the bandits plan to abscond with two more pickups as well.  
Ricardo is a dentist/oral surgeon from a small town near Durango, Mexico.  His family includes his lovely wife, Judith, and sons, David (16) and Ricardo, Jr. (12) along with an older son at home.  They made an unbelievably frightening experience into something we could actually deal with. Ricardo carefully and surreptitiously interpreted some of what these fearsome bandits were saying.  Trust me, communications in this type of environment climbs the ladder of priorities.
We marched through this seemingly impassible jungle thankful for the few rest stops allowed by these machine-gun wielding miscreants.  We trudged for hours through rock filled dry gulches, jungle vines, up and down hills.  It was unbelievably grueling!
The two bandidos holding the AK-47s on us were constantly in contact with someone via cell phone.   Apparently, there were/are some really bad people infiltrated into the Police Military, State Police, and Federales.  Corruption in Mexico is rampant.  Sinaloa is likely the worst place for this type of situation due to the ever dominant Sinaloa Drug Cartel.
We don’t have any photos of the dirty scumbags who terrorized us for that very long day.   Below is an image that describes how they came across:
Finally, many hours following our abduction, after hearing some activity not expected by the bad guys, we were let loose to find our way through the jungle.  We had been kidnapped and held as prisoners in the Mexican jungle for more than six hours.
We knew to head west where the sun shown thru the jungle canopy. We found our way near the place where we were summarily removed earlier in the day from Dave’s pickup.  Our plan was to find the road then head for the highway where we’d all been abducted.
Coming up the hill to greet us were the Mexican Military Police, the Police Military, the State Police, and Federales.   Even the EMT people were on hand.  A more beautiful sight there never was!  We could and did hug them out of shear relief!
Simultaneously, seeing our rescuers, all three ladies shed buckets of tears of relief .  All three had stayed strong throughout the grueling day.  Their relief was shared by we men as well albeit sans tears.  Ricardo’s boys were, in my view men.  Absolutely outstanding young men!
There to greet us as well was that white Chrysler 200 still immobile from it’s harsh arrival that morning.  A tow truck arrived soon after our rescue to haul it away.  Not surprisingly, we would learn that the Chrysler was also stolen.  We had noticed that there was no license plate on the car further indicating the car had been hijacked.
We can’t say enough for our rescuers, the Mexican soldiers and police! They took down our information, descriptions of our losses, descriptions of the bad-guys, and took us into a little town nearby where we were fed and watered. 
We tried to pay the proprietor.  “No signor!  Compliments of the Mayor!”  I wish I knew how to thank him. Then our rescuers drove us with our military escort back to Mazatlán.  
Following another interview with the magistrate in Mazatlán, (it was after 9 PM, a nearly a twelve hour day) we were finally driven back to the Baggs beachfront condo.
As I write this I’m sipping some rather smooth brandy and reflecting on the day and how it mighta been had Ricardo and his wonderful family not suffered the same fate we did.  Little doubt as to what condition we’d be in t’day…  Presently, I am listening to the surf outside Dave and Laurie’s condo knowing it is the last time I will ever have a Mexico sojourn…
Our losses were nothing compared to our friends, Dave and Laurie. Yet, those rotten bastards got Cheryl’s purse which included her passport. So, in addition to going to the police, it necessitated a journey to the US consulate and, then, we’d need to figure out how to work our way home.  
Of course, both our iPhones are history.  At first, in the jungle, I told the bandidos that I didn’t remember the code as we used our fingerprint to access.  When Cheryl suggested she didn’t want to have her finger cut off I miraculously remembered the four-digit code and gave it to the despicable bastards…  Hillary should have been with us.  She’d have known what the word “deplorable” actually meant…
We remain hopeful the bad guys will suffer the wrath of the Mexican Police Military and State Police who have taken a real dim view of this activity.  It hurts tourism.  That we won’t be back is proof.  We’ve seen all too much evidence of internal corruption there and agree with President Trump.  We need The Wall!  We need to close our border with Mexico!  Any bleeding-heart liberal should learn, first-hand, what we have.  And if you think any of this is “Fake News” get a nice pick up and drive through Sinaloa to Mazatlán.  Let me know how that works for ya… God Bless America! 
Below:  L-R:  Dave Baggs, Ricardo, Jr., Judith, Billy, and Cheryl immediately following our rescue…   Cheryl is holding the small package with her Arizona Driver’s License and credit cards.  Apparently, these were of no use to the bandidos and they tossed this out where one of the soldiers discovered it.  

Photo taken by Mexican Police 1/15/18

On February 18th I heard from Dr. Ricardo Castanez Santo.  He told me that the reason we were not killed by the bandidos was that his brother, seeing Ricardo and his family abducted,  called Ricardo’s oldest son who alerted some contacts high up in the Mexican government.  He believes this is why the Mexican military and State Police mounted such a search & rescue effort.

Of course none of the rescuers were aware of the four of us until we were actually rescued.  I shudder thinking that had Ricardo’s brother not started the rescue ball rollin’ we might have all ended up dead in a very remote place in the Mexican jungle…

Ricardo lives some seven hours from the point we all were abducted.  So, the bandidos initially thought they had seven hours before anyone would be aware.  However, the bandidos soon knew they were the ones being hunted.

Still, it was six hours in the Mexican jungle before we were released and able to head towards our rescuers.  Alls well that ends well.  We are alive and safe.  Unfortunately, at some great cost to Ricardo and my buddy Dave who lost their new high-dollar pickups.  Then too, there was the loss of irreplaceable items such as Laurie’s jewelry.  The four of us had our cell phones stolen.  Cheryl lost her nice $200 purse, and $250 in cash plus some credit cards along with her passport.  All no big deal when you think of what would likely have happened to the eight of us had Ricardo’s brother not been behind and witnessed the event.  WHEW!



I did not post my story on the Facebook site Mr. Faria mentions below, and I do not know who did.   I just hope the word gets out in hopes of sparing other fellow countrymen from going through the same ordeal…

Regardless of what Mr. Faria suggests others said, I will state that every single word of what happened to us on January 15th 2018, and that you will read below Mr. Faria’s e-mail, is absolutely true:

From: AL FARIA <>
Subject: Your Mexico experience
Date: March 16, 2018 at 7:57:50 AM MST
Hello Ca
I live in Mexico and I follow many posts on Facebook. Your blog story was published in a group called “On the Road in Mexico”. Unfortunately, most of the people commenting on your story say that you are a fraud and because you are a Trump supporter, you made up fake news to thwart Mexico tourism.  (I voted for Trump).
I stuck up for you because I don’t think you would openly publish such a story unless it was true. Someone also dug up a Canadian newsclip with your friend Dave Briggs telling the same story. I would love for you to go onto the post and make a statement so that we can clarify your identity. Of course, I understand if you don’t want to get involved. It must have been a terrifying experience for you and I am very sorry that you experienced it.
I often tell people that incidents like yours can happen anywhere in the world. Including the U.S. We have many carjackings and robberies that happen to tourists all across the country, but it never makes the national news. Mexico seems to get a bad rap when it comes to news reporting.
ANyways, again, I am sorry about your incident. I hope that you have all had time to heal. I jjust wanted to contact you and explain what is going on in Mexico.
Al. Faria
Lake Chapala, Mexico
Formerly of Massachusetts

The Mr. Briggs mentioned above is actually Dave Baggs.  His story, linked below, was published in Alberta.  It is, obviously, very similar to what I’ve written.  Both of us feel a strong need to warn people about this growing danger.  We know this can happen in our country and, in fact, it does happen.  However, there is a HUGE difference in that our legal system’s corruption would not make so much as a pimple on the butt of Mexico’s legal system.  Also, most of the bandidos in America are able speak some English.  Being able to carry a concealed weapon is in the U.S. is comforting.  I was unable to do that in Mexico.  And on and on…

Alberta man carjacked, abducted in Mexico offers harrowing warning for Canadians

October 8, 2020…  Scary update!  Mesa family attacked at machine-gun point in Mexico.

January 19-21, 2019…

We had a wonderful reunion with Dr. Ricardo Castañeda Santo and his family.   We finally met the Santo’s oldest son, Said.  It was Said who made it possible for the eight of us to survive a horrific abduction a half-hour east of Mazatlan, Mexico just a year ago January 15th.

Not only would we meet our savior, Said, but we learned much more about what was even more perilous than we originally thought.  Hard to imagine it was worse, but, apparently, it was!

Fortunately, for all of us, Said (then 18) was home when he received a call from Dr. Santos friends who were following his truck, a new Dodge Ram when they were boxed in and robbed before being taken to a remote jungle site.   All the Santos protestations stopped when a couple of the bandits fired their automatic weapons in the air.  This also was meant to discourage passing cars from stopping to help! 

Over our weekend visit, Ricardo and Said related more details we had been largely unaware of.   While weapons were fired during the Santo abduction, none were when we were abducted roughly a half-hour later.

We did know the bandits plan was to acquire four pick-ups.  Guesswork indicated they needed these for their drug smuggling.  The two pickups they “acquired” from the Santos and the Baggs would never be recovered.  Nor would any of the valuables stolen from Judith Santo and Laurie Baggs. Cheryl was fortunate to have secreted her rings which had belonged to my Mother!

As you read from the earlier writing (below), one of the three sedans they used to box us in, a white Chrysler 200, wrecked when they slammed into the jungle.  This car would be eventually be recovered.

A couple of minutes after stopping on a remote dirt road, we were marched, at gunpoint, up a rocky wash.  We would learn later the plan was for everyone in four vehicles to be executed in this lonely forsaken tick infested place. 

At the time we were being forced up this rocky draw, unbeknown to us,  Said Santo had received a call telling of his family’s plight.  Immediately, he used his father’s contact list to gain access to individuals high up in the Mexican government.   

The pendulum began to swing our way!  Very quickly the bad guys knew they were the hunted.  We do not know who amongst the bad guys were connected in such a way as to know that a rescue effort was being organized to coma after the bandits.   In Mexico it it difficult to know who is the good guy;  who is the bad guy!

At this time no one knew that Dave and Laurie Baggs, and Billy and Cheryl Walker were kidnapped and being marched up and down a very hilly jungle.  In fact, Cheryl and I soon realized we had neglected telling our family that we’d even gone to Mexico. 

Had things gone as planned for the Mexican bandits there would be eight lumps of decaying matter in the jungle known only to the buzzards and wild animals.  Cheryl and I will be forever grateful to Said Santo and know the Santo family will be our friends forever…

NOTE:  I plan to add more to this story.  I’m awaiting for photos from the Santo’s family.  Hopefully, some of our memorable day flying will show up as well.




Humphrey’s Peak on the San Francisco Mountain Range (Flagstaff, AZ).  We drove the rented van over 500 miles showing the Santos the many colors of Arizona.  A days travel took us from the Sonoran Desert Saguaro Cactus to the Junipers of Sedona and the red rock country to the snow covered tops of the San Francisco Mountains in Flagstaff.


June 6, 2018 Prescott couple robbed and murdered in Mexico!  Yet another tragic event proving how dangerous it is in Mexico especially!

 Ray Ball, 72 and Jo Anne Butler, 69


Here’s another RECENT example on why NOT to travel to Mexico.  When I read this it really hit home!  The parallels to our horrific experience were omnipresent!

Read the article written by Emily Crane (

This newly-engaged couple was looking for wedding locations in Mexico.  The link above reveals how they were kidnapped at gunpoint, robbed and severely beaten over several hours…

I am also including an e-note received March 16th (two months plus a day after our January 15th horror story). For this addendum, see the last part of my story…


1 Comment

  1. Thank you, our Mexico experience was something I hope no one else experiences. Alas, there have been many, not as fortunate as my wife and I were, who have been killed unmercifully by cartel thugs. Stay SAFE!

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